6 Customer Onboarding Mistakes to Steer Clear of

Acquiring a customer and then providing less than great onboarding, is like scaling a wall only to jump back down once you’ve reached the top. In the era of ever-growing customer expectations, unattended customers will wander off to the competition if onboarding is slow or tedious. To get over the wall, you’ll need to onboard your customers’ right the first time.

Onboarding new customers to your software can seem like a daunting task. Customers expect to get a product that is tailored to their needs, works properly every time it is used, and is backed by adequate customer support. Seems straightforward enough, right?

Here I’ll detail the six main pitfalls of customer onboarding so that you can make it over the wall on the first try.


1. Making Promises you Can’t Deliver On

Your product took a lot of time, effort and thought to develop. Since you have likely spent more time with your product than your children, it’s easy to fall into the trap of talking about it like it’s your child. Look we get it, little Timmy is in the 99th percentile for height, maybe that’s because his father is 6’5″. The point is that it’s easy to fall into the temptation of using adjectives like “groundbreaking”, “revolutionary”, and “life changing” when referring to your product.

“But Mark” I can hear you saying “My product recall is THAT amazing.

“Quiet you. Discretion is the better part of valor.” Let’s look at it this way. If your customers do not experience the same value that you do, they won’t wait long to wash their hands of you, most likely after wasting you in a comment or review somewhere.


2. Making Users Work for Rewards

Even though we’d like it if they did, users don’t have unlimited time and money. It is your job to get them signed up for your product and experiencing the benefits as soon as possible. Don’t make your users jump through hoops or put in a lot of time before they see benefits. They are not trained seals.

Onboarding is not about training users on every feature of your interface right away. Instead, focus on getting them to the first small win that demonstrates your value as fast as you can. Video games do this well with unlocking achievements. The first ones come early and, as you build up experience, they get harder to complete.


3. Slow Response Times to Support Requests

Remember the old adage – “Slow and Steady Wins the Race”? Well, not this time.

When a customer sees that response times are slow, there is a greater chance that they will find another product to serve their needs. Responsive customer support is particularly important at any point in the sales cycle. Be prompt and proactive when responding to customer support tickets so as to ensure that you will convert your early adopters into loyal users and brand advocates.

4. Your Software is Too Difficult to Learn and Operate

In general, the user experience is important, but it is especially critical when you are talking about onboarding users to new software. When new users go through the initial process of getting started with new software, there is an urgent need to get them up to speed quickly and effectively, so that they can begin to capitalize on the value they invested in.

Adoption is really about the user recognizing that the software is solving their problems. For that recognition to happen, user onboarding must be easy. Make sure there’s the smallest amount of confusion as possible.


5. Ignoring Analytics

Analytics are a must-have. Begin collecting data on who is accessing your site and what they do once they are there as soon as you begin your onboarding process. Having this information lets you refine your onboarding process to better address your customer’s needs. Using analytics will allow you better understand what your customers are looking for in a user experience and help you deliver it.


6. Making Assumptions about Your Customers

Don’t mistake the passion for your product with a good understanding of customer needs. Don’t be a bragging parent. Even companies with the best buyer research and profiling make the mistake of adding superfluous features that no one wants. Onboarding users on features that no one is really going to use, only serves to confuse them and detract from the core functionalities that brought your users there in the first place. Make sure that your company is customer-centric in everything that it does – don’t lost sight of your customer.

Onboarding can be difficult, and although no two onboarding strategies will be exactly the same, all successful onboarding strategies feature a consistent desire to discover and deliver on the needs of the customer. If you mix honesty about the product and commitment to ongoing customer support — success is assured.


To read an article about the 7 top customer retention strategies for customer success managers,  click here.


Head of Corporate and Marketing Communications at WalkMe and Contributing Author to SaaS Addict blog.